The Anthropomorphic Motion Factory is a unique forum developed in the framework of the European ERC project Actanthrope (2014-2019). It is open to researchers and experts from various backgrounds, all involved in the study of human and humanoid motion. After the first workshop dedicated to « Dance Notations and Robot Motion » in 2014, and the second workshop dedicated to « Geometric and Numerical Foundations of Movements » in 2015, the current edition is devoted to Biomechanics and Robotics.
By putting the anthropomorphic body at the center of action representation, Actanthrope places the notion of embodied action as the key challenge for robot autonomy and future developments in humanoid robotics.
Mechanical laws of motion were applied very early for better understanding anthropomorphic action as suggested in advance by Newton : « For from hence are easily deduced the forces of machines, which are compounded of wheels, pullics, levers, cords, and weights, ascending directly or obliquely, and other mechanical powers ; as also the force of the tendons to move the bones of animals. » In the 19th century E.J. Marey and E. Muybridge introduced chronophotography to scientifically investigate animal and human movements. They opened the field of motion analysis by being the first scientists to correlate ground reaction forces with kinetics.
In spite of the apparent simplicity of a given skilled movement, the organization of the underlying neuro-musculo-skeletal system remains unknown. A reason is the redundancy of the motor system: a given action can be realized by different muscle and joint activity patterns, and the same underlying activity may give rise to several movements. After the pioneering work of N. Bernstein in the 60’s on the existence of motor synergies, numerous researchers “walking on the border” of their disciplines tend to discover laws and principles underlying the human motions and how the brain reduces the redundancy of the system. These synergies represent the fundamental building blocks composing complex movements.
In robotics, researchers face the same redundancy and complexcity challenges as the researchers in life sciences. The objective of the workshop is then to gather roboticists and researchers in biomechanics in order to promote a pluridisciplinary research on anthropomorphic systems at large and on humanoid robotics in particular.
The workshop is by invitation only. It is organized around fifteen talks including three keynotes (A. Bicchi from IIT in Genoa, F. Lacquaniti from University of Rome Tor Vergata, M. Latash from Pennsylvania State University). In order to emphasize on interactions and discussions among participants, the number of attendees is limited to 50.